At the start of the year when I decided to pursue writing I figured teaching was a pretty complementary job. There's good holidays, I can get home relatively early in the evening if I push myself and constant interaction with people exposes me to all sorts of levels of human experience (what some people might call, material). Of course, the year has hardly followed the ideal path I set out.
Most advice that I hear about writing has a pretty simple message - write. Stop talking about it, stop thinking about it and do it. The follow up to that instruction is usually something to do with developing regular writing habits, which is where teaching is terrible. I'm not incessantly busy, but in the periods when I am busy my job can occupy my time to the exclusion of all else for a few weeks at a time (like at the moment). I stop reading, and writing is off the agenda completely - I can't even update a blog apparently.
I'm not about to quit teaching. I really enjoy it. I'm hoping the steps I have taken to shuffle my responsibilities will result in a much more steady working life next year. But this year isn't over yet...
I'll be unofficially doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November (even though I'm not American - I can bring the international flavour). My aim is a manuscript of between 80,000 and 90,000 words. That's alot of writing, but a few things at work will be falling in my favour to make it (at least slightly) possible. I will be finishing my outlining before the month starts, and the story is based on an idea that I've been considering and researching for quite a while now. I think the groundwork is done, and I think I'll be the type of writer who prefers to outline pretty thoroughly.
If it goes well, I'll then be spending the first week in December madly editing the manuscript so that it is in some sort of shape to enter into the Terry Pratchett Prize. I'm under no illusions about the quality of what I will probably produce, but it's important to have goals like that to write towards. My only other completed and submitted piece of fiction this year was also for a competition - I obviously need that motivation.
I'll be charting my progress on my fledgling blog, and I'll hopefully find some time to post thoughts about my reading and other issues that I come across. I can't stop reading altogether, Towers of Midnight lands in early November and it is a must read for a long time Robert Jordan fan like me.